The Benefits of 5-Axis Machining

October 18, 2022

All Metals Fabricating is proud to have the CNC machining expertise and equipment to provide exemplary services to our valued customers. One piece of equipment we’re especially thrilled to have on our shop floor is our Leadwell V-40iT 5-Axis Machining Center, which enables us to manufacture complex parts more easily and efficiently than with a traditional vertical mill. 

5-axis machining is a game-changing capability for any precision machine shop, and there are significant advantages to partnering with a shop with 5-axis capabilities.

What Is 5-Axis Machining? 

5-axis machining has all the capabilities of standard 3-axis and 4-axis machining—plus additional features that improve efficiency. 

Quick refresher: 3-axis machining rotates cutting tools around the X, Y, and Z axes to remove material from a fixed workpiece. 4-axis machining brings in yet another axis of movement (the A axis) and enables the workpiece to rotate, allowing for both milling and turning capabilities.

During a 5-axis machining operation, a cutting tool moves across the X, Y, and Z axes while rotating on the A and B axes simultaneously, empowering us to machine the workpiece from any direction with just one setup (compared to multiple setups for a 3- or 4-axis machine).

3- or 4-axis machining is generally sufficient for simple parts, so we typically reserve 5-axis machining for complex, tight tolerance parts.

Benefits of 5-Axis Machining

Our Leadwell V-40iT can machine all standard metals and plastics. We commonly use 5-axis machining for complex aerospace parts (e.g., heatsinks) with unique angles or radii over multiple surfaces, but it’s ideal for any applications that have intricate design features or hard-to-reach angles. 

Here are some of the top benefits of using 5-axis machining:

Machine complex features

5-axis machining helps us to achieve complex features with incredible efficiency, thanks to the reach and versatility of the cutting tools. When required, we can machine on multiple surfaces (except the bottom of the workpiece) without the need for special fixturing or numerous setups.  

Size constraints are the one potential limitation to consider. Our Leadwell V-40iT can fit square and rectangular parts measuring up to 30” x 20” and round parts with radii measuring up to 24” x 12”. 

Reduce setups

Because 5-axis machining significantly reduces the number of setups required, customers save money on programming and setup time. But that’s not the only benefit to consider. 

With fewer setups, there is less room for human error, as machinists don’t have to reposition the part between operations. Customers whose parts come off 5-axis machines can expect unparalleled consistency, accuracy, and repeatability.  

Achieve one-piece flow

One of the most significant benefits of 5-axis machining is that most parts are complete after just one setup. This capability enables us to achieve one-piece flow, a lean manufacturing best practice that describes processing a single piece at a time. Customers have the option of receiving a partial order shipped fast while they wait for the rest of their order.

If you’re looking for a precision machine shop with the right capabilities to make your parts skillfully and efficiently, you can be confident that All Metals Fabricating will get the job done. Request a quote today!